Which one is first- the chicken or the egg? This unanswerable question will soon no longer matter, as the small startup Hampton Creek Foods, funded by Bill Gates and Silicon Valley investors, aims to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions, energy and water consumption, disease outbreaks, and allergies by creating sustainable eggs in the lab from plants.
Increased demand for food, together with inappropriate and unhealthy eating habits, are presenting a huge challenge in front of the food industry. The need for larger areas for agricultural production, more energy to maintain farms and increased outbreaks of diseases put an enormous pressure on producers, who have to not only generate larger quantities of their products, but also comply with much stricter regulations.
The most obvious alternative is natural food replacements. Of course, when we hear about foods that are created in a lab, we tend to be quite skeptical, mainly because of the fears associated with the unknown effects of some products with questionable origin. But the guys from Hampton Creek Foods claim that food-tech is the way forward, and if done properly, it can provide sustainable and healthy alternative, which can supply the needed amounts, in a much greener and better for the environment way.
The first product that the company created is already on the market. This is the Just Mayo mayonnaise, which contains a green substitute for eggs made from beans. Before it was brought to our shops, biochemists analyzed more than 1,500 different types of plants in the company’s lab in order to find the one, which has the same culinary functions as the animal product. The mayonnaise costs almost the same as the regular one, and the venture is already looking into bringing cookie dough and scrambled egg batter made from the same ingredient.
While these guys are tackling the eggs, another venture, also funded by Bill Gates, called Beyond Meat, is targeting the chicken. The aim is to finally put a full stop to the problem of inhuman farming practices, which go against all rules for animal welfare regulations. The non-chicken chicken that the company created is made from plant protein and is sold in most Whole Foods stores. The company is also looking into products that can replace beef. Yes, it is not ‘real’ chicken, but if it tastes and has the exact same texture, why not switch to a meat-free diet, even if you’re a real meat lover? You will satisfy your taste buds and do something good for our environment.
Image (c) AP